BENTONVILLE -- The Bentonville Police Department has completed its investigation into an officer's Facebook post about last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol and said Wednesday that it has been resolved as "an internal personnel matter."
Officer Jason Beeler was placed on administrative leave with pay while the department investigated the social media post after the city received complaints from the public, according to a department news release.
Beeler's Facebook post stated, "What is happening at the Capital [sic] is exactly what needed to happen! Open your eyes people, the left is taking everything you feel to be true and important and watering it down to the point it will go away. These lawmakers need to wake up and see the conservative side is fed up and will defend our rights! Prayers for all who are protesting today. Please stand firm and respectfully legally protest!!"
Beeler wrote the post "during the early stages of the event," and was unaware of the violence and chaos that was happening, according to the release.
Within an hour of that post, Beeler made another statement on Facebook, according to the department: "Let me be clear: there is only one way to protest: Legally peaceful with honor is the only way to protest!! Those acting a fool need to go to jail!!!!"
Beeler made his second post before he was contacted about the concerns necessitating the department's investigation, according to the release. He provided a statement during the department's review of the matter in which he expressed regret over his initial post.
"I failed to consider that my post, made from a distance and without great thought, might result in people in my own community misunderstanding me as well as the way it might reflect on the police department," Beeler said, according to the release.
He further stated that he took responsibility for the post and recognized the "timing and wording contained within the posting leave room for interpretation that is both troubling and harmful. Such an interpretation certainly does not reflect my true beliefs as a lifetime supporter of the rule of law."
The department's news release said Beeler has been with the department for 16 years, and he is a valued member of the organization.
"Based upon the complete review of this matter, particularly including this officer's length of employment with the city, his character generally exhibited during this employment, his apparent intentions when making the post, and his personal statement concerning his having made the post, this matter has been resolved as an internal personnel matter," the department's news released stated. "The City of Bentonville values its employees and will work to preserve employment relationships where possible."
The department doesn't have a policy concerning social media, but does have one governing conduct and behavior, according to Police Chief Jon Simpson.